Environment
6:15 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

PennFuture Wants Pennsylvania to Release Analysis of Energy Savings Program

Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture) is asking the Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) to release the findings of a review done on the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA).

GESA is a program established in Pennsylvania by law in 2004. It allows state government agencies, municipalities, and school districts to enter into service agreements with energy companies. They provide technical, engineering, and managerial expertise while private sector financial institutions fund retrofit projects. The costs are paid back out of the energy savings over the life of the contract at no cost to the government.

But early in 2011 the Corbett Administration put the program on hold, while a review was done of its effectiveness. The findings of that review were never made public, though proposed changes based on that review have been released.

"The program has been very successful and PennFuture is concerned about why the Department of General Services, that currently administers the program, wants to make changes," said Christina Simeone, director of the PennFuture Energy Center.

PennFuture has filed a Right to Know request with DGS asking for all records pertaining to the a claim made by DGS Secretary Sheri Philips that GESA was flawed and not returning value to the taxpayers. Simeone said the opposite, that the program was successful in its current form. She added that the proposed changes would weaken the program.

"It would make changes that would make energy service companies less willing to enter into contracts and would not give state agencies, school districts, and municipalities the type of protection they currently get under the program," said Simeone.

PennFuture wants to know what is behind the changes, which is why they're requesting the review data. A public comment period on the proposed changes ends on January 18. Simeone said that PennFuture plans to submit comments with or without the information it's requesting.

UPDATE: 1/6/12

The information PennFuture requested was made available shortly before they announced their Right to Know request, and can be found here.